Revel in Cape Town central city’s cocktail bars


WHILE many businesses closed due to pressures brought on by the pandemic, the Central City has seen its already varied selection of bars enhanced with new venues opening. Some of these spots are included in a new retail map, which is part of the Cape Town Central City’s Improvement District’s (CCID) #ComeBackToTown campaign, to bolster the Central City’s economy and encourage people to support local businesses.

Some of the recent additions include Culture Wine Bar, Open Sesame, fable, YOBO Wine & Whiskey Bar and Zsa Zsa Restaurant & Bar.

Says Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the CCID: “Downtown Cape Town has always been a vibrant destination for visitors wanting to unwind and enjoy themselves. While lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions put a dampener on trade, we salute our retailers in the CBD who have pulled through spectacularly by reinventing themselves, changing their offering, or sticking to their tried-and-tested formula.”


Twenty-four-year-old entrepreneur Josh Sarembock, the founder and owner of fable on the corner of Bree and Wale streets, says his cocktail bar celebrates South Africa’s rich and culturally diverse background through “fables”. He explains, “I had eight Western Cape myths and legends brought to life in the form of ‘fables’ and then decided how the cocktail would tell the ‘fabled’ experience through flavours or serving methods”.

In trendy Bree St, Culture Wine Bar by well-known chef Matt Manning and wine maestro, Chris Groenewald, have curated a selection of fine wines from the country’s most respected names, cult classics, hidden gems and special imports from across the globe are on offer.


In Longmarket St, the Central City boasts Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar which owner Ilze Koekemoer says turns 10 years old this year, testament to the bar’s uniqueness. In preparation, the bar was recently revamped to “make the space airy and allow for more seating inside” while retaining the venue’s signature shrine-inspired red bar.

Emma-Claire Peter is the Innovations manager of the Chefs Warehouse Group which has opened Chefs Warehouse Pinchos & Winebar, aims to introduce Capetonians to Spanish tapas as well as magnificent South African wines and cocktails. She says they support local as much as possible while also keeping the authenticity of the concept.


“It almost killed us having been a newly opened venue,” says Sarembock. For Manning, they had to temporarily shut down after being operational for only two months.

With lockdown rules now relaxed, Central City bars are breathing a sigh of relief and are armed with Covid-19 safety measures to welcome patrons back.

Koekemoer sums it up perfectly when she says “Cape Town’s CBD is a unique treasure” that needs to be preserved. “At its best it’s a vibrant, diverse and creative space providing a canvas for many artists and entrepreneurs to produce their craft. With a dramatic decline in tourism, this entire ecosystem is at risk. All of us can help to ensure our city’s vibrancy by supporting local independent businesses.”

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